It’s a summer of walking for communities across West Yorkshire

Twenty non-profit organisations have successfully bid for grants from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority tsupport people to walk and cycle more. 

An inspiring range of community walking and cycling projects aimed at supporting people to be more active are being run this summer after receiving funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Organisations across every district in the region have been successful in bidding for community grants of up to £5000 made available by the Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme. Organisations will provide a broad range of activities designed to help people walk and cycle more as part of their everyday lives.

Inclusive walking projects featured particularly strongly among the successful applications. Overall 20 grants have been awarded in the first phase of funding, totalling £82,000, with 14 of the grants supporting projects that will enable people to get out more on foot, and reconnecting with the communities around them.

They include the BBest Community Hub, running a week-long challenge at 22 schools across Batley and Birstall encouraging children to walk, cycle, run, skip, scoot and dance to school, aimed at addressing concerns over increased screen time due to the pandemic and creating healthier habits for life.

The Space @ Field Lane project will use its funding to coordinate a walking project for the Field Lane Estate in Rastrick, mapping out walking routes, creating community ambassadors to become walk leaders and co-ordinating a walking   equipment bank for local people to use.

Danny Leech from The Space @ Field Lane said:

“This project grant will be of great benefit to families and individuals that may be making their first tentative steps outside to socialise and improve their physical health and mental wellbeing.”

Moor Allerton Elderly Care in Leeds will offer ‘doorstep walks’ for older people who were unable or unwilling to get out and about during the pandemic. Sessions will be used to assess mental and physical wellbeing and build confidence to enjoy going outside again.

Julia Edmunds, Manager at Moor Allerton Elderly Care, said:

‘We’re delighted to have received this grant which will enable us to support older people, many of whom have been isolated at home for the last 16 months, to build up their confidence to get out and about.”

“Our local community has shown great resilience and spirit in volunteering and local support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and this project will enhance and further strengthen opportunities to build and recognise that community spirit and enable more opportunities to come together.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“It is key priority and election pledge of mine to ensure that as a region we focus squarely on accessibility, inclusivity, diversity and equality in all our funding decisions. The community grants scheme is a brilliant example of putting this vision into action.

“The 20 fantastic projects benefitting from this funding will support people in their communities who need it the most, using walking and cycling as a way to improve people’s experience of living in those communities, and to benefit their health and everyday lives.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Transport portfolio lead for West Yorkshire, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to offer the community grants scheme again in 2021. We know encouraging people to walk and cycle more has significant benefits for the health of people in our communities, but these projects are also providing a way to bring communities together, which is especially important as we re-adjust to life following the pandemic.”

The 2021 round of community grants is supported by the Department for Transport's Active Travel Fund, introduced in 2020 as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority was awarded £12.5 million from the Active Travel Fund to deliver a programme of ambitious proposals to create more space for cycling and walking, while easing the pressure on public transport and relieving congestion.

In phase two of the community grants scheme the Combined Authority is hoping to fund a further 55 projects, with a total of £224,851 in funding. This second phase is dependent further funding from Department for Transport (DfT)

See more on the community grants scheme at - www.cyclecityconnect.co.uk/get-inspired/our-work-with-communities

It is key priority and election pledge of mine to ensure that as a region we focus squarely on accessibility, inclusivity, diversity and equality in all our funding decisions. The community grants scheme is a brilliant example of putting this vision into action.

Tracy Brabin Mayor of West Yorkshire